Service changes announced for Bath
First West of England’s bus services in Bath are seeing some changes in the autumn, including a number of significant improvements to University services designed to ensure no repetition of problems experienced during the 2018-19 academic year.
These start on 1st September with some minor changes to the normal city services. Services 3 to and from Bathford and 3a serving Elmhurst will continue to operate a combined daytime frequency of every 10 minutes along the London Road. The 3 service will continue every 20 minutes to Bear Flat, Wellsway and Foxhill. The 3a service will in future continue to and from the Royal United Hospital and Weston. This will create a cross-city link between Bathford, Batheaston and the London Road to the east and the Royal United Hospital to the west. This has been a long-term request.
The daytime frequency of route 4 between Odd Down and Weston via the Bus Station will change to every 20 minutes. Together with the 3a, the 4 will provide a ten-minute frequency between the Bus Station, the Royal United Hospital and Weston Eastfield Avenue.
In summary, there will continue to be a bus every 10 minutes between the bus station and Batheaston, between the bus station and the RUH and Weston and every 20 minutes between the bus station and Foxhill and the bus station and Odd Down. These changes are designed to line up more closely with current travel patterns while opening up attractive new links between Batheaston and Weston.
At Foxhill, the experimental diversion of Service 3 via Mulberry Park will end and buses will resume the previous route, turning from Bradford Road into Fox Hill. Service 2 continues to serve Mulberry Park as before.
In the evenings and on Sundays there are minor changes to the timetable to improve reliability of service X31 journeys to and from Chippenham and all First-operated journeys will operate through Batheaston village in both directions to give a better service at these times.
Following extensive consultation with customers, including the University and the Students Union, there will be more buses servicing the University and the direct route from Oldfield Park to the University will run all day. These services start on the 22 September ( 23rd September in the case of the U3).
A significant investment in the U1 and U3 services, which provide a vital link between Oldfield Park, Bath City Centre and the University of Bath, will mean an extra eight buses per hour operating during peak times, allowing more than 700 more customers to travel each hour. The U3 is exactly the same route as the U1X of the past year, but has been renumbered to make it more easily distinguished.
The main U1 service will now operate between the City Centre and the University between approximately 0700 and 1930 from Monday to Friday during term time, with an increase in frequency to approximately every four minutes. The route will start at Green Park then continue via Dorchester Street and the Grand Parade to the University. To make sure that nobody is left behind at the Grand Parade stop during peak times, extra buses will start from here to provide necessary additional capacity.
Outside these times, between 1935 and 0655 (term time) on Mondays to Fridays and all day Saturday and Sunday, journeys operate the traditional full U1 route between the University and Oldfield Park via the City Centre. As in the recent past, between midnight and 0600 in the morning buses will not stop at St Mary’s Bathwick out of consideration for local residents.
From Oldfield Park to the University, the newly-renumbered U3 exactly replicates the former U1X route and will now also operate all day between approximately 0700 and 1930, again with an increased frequency of around every four minutes. The route will start at St James Cemetery then continues via Lower Oldfield Park and Rossiter Road to Bathwick Hill and the University. At the busiest times the frequency will be increased to provide sufficient capacity when there is very heavy demand.
Customers thinking of using the service in Widcombe, particularly at Rossiter Road, are advised instead to use Service U1 from nearby Dorchester Street on the other side of the river as many U3 buses may already be full by the time they reach this area at peak times.
To improve the service, additional buses will be introduced In the evenings and at night to increase the reliability and punctuality of operation.
Anybody wishing to travel between Oldfield Park and the City Centre from Monday to Friday between 0700 and 1900 should use Service 1 which operates via Oldfield Park (Moorland Road and Lorne Road) into the city centre every 10 minutes. At other times Service U1 will operate to and from the City Centre. Student season tickets are valid on Service 1. The U2 service will continue as during the last academic year.
Chris Hanson, Head of Operations, said: “These improvements have been worked out after careful analysis of last year’s experience and in consultation with the University. We are running more buses and deploying more supervision that ever before. By providing separate services all day from Lower Oldfield Park and the City Centre we will provide much greater capacity off peak between 0900 and 1500. We carefully tracked journeys during the last academic year and have recognised that students make many more journeys during the historically quieter periods of the day - so providing extra capacity at these times will make a big difference. We also had feedback that the quicker link between Oldfield Park and the University Campus is crucial.”